On Friday, we finally caught the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island. Coupeville is a charming small town in the center of the island and is the second oldest town in Washington State. We walked along the waterfront through the town’s historic district and found a great local restaurant for lunch. I had a delicious chicken chili with Rockwell beans. These highly prized local beans are white with cranberry mottling and have a wonderful flavor. We even decided to buy a bag of dried beans to take home with us.
|Down to the Coupeville Wharf
|Historic Downtown Coupeville
|Chili with Rockwell Beans
Coupeville is located on Penn Cove, home of the famous Penn Cove mussels. Unfortunately, we have not been able to sample any mussels because a derelict crabbing boat in Penn Cove caught fire, sank and began to leak oil last week. The spill resulted in the closure of the cove to shellfish harvesting. Let’s just hope that there will be no long term impact on this industry.
While we were in Coupeville, we learned about Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, the first unit of its kind in the National Park system. This is not your typical national park unit. Ebey’s Landing is a unique cultural landscape, and the reserve is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the historic rural countryside. The area looks much the same today as it did when it was discovered by New England sea captains and farmers.
What is interesting is that virtually all of the land is privately owned. Historic farms are still farmed and historic buildings are still occupied. We followed the driving tour around the reserve where we saw natural prairies and beautiful farmlands, a sandy beach with high bluffs and sweeping views of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, gently rolling hills and a protected cove. It was a beautiful drive. Credit goes to the islanders who have worked and fought to protect their heritage.
|Ebey's Prairie and Farmstead
|The Beach at Ebey's Landing
|Historic Structures, Such as the Davis Blockhouse, Dot the Landscape
We continued to the northern end of Whidbey Island and crossed Deception Pass on an iconic bridge. The views from the bridge were just spectacular. We arrived in Anacortes, where the Washington State Ferries depart for the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. It’s a busy place, especially on weekends and in the summer.